De Beers’ rough diamond production in Q2 2021 that ended 30th June increased by 134% to 8.2 million carats, reflecting planned higher production in response to the ongoing consumer demand recovery as well as the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns across southern Africa last year, parent company Anglo American said in its latest production report.
De Beers sold an increased proportion of higher value rough diamonds during the first six months of 2021, which led to a 13% increase in the consolidated average realised price to $135/carat ($119/ct in 2020), it added.
The mining major noted that while the average price index remained broadly flat, the closing index increased by 14% compared to the start of 2021, reflecting tightness in inventories across the diamond value chain as well as positive consumer demand for polished diamonds.
In Botswana, rough diamond production increased by 214% to 5.7 million carats year on year, while Namibia’s diamond output decreased by 6% to 0.3 million carats, primarily due to planned maintenance of the Mafuta vessel which completed in the quarter and another vessel remaining demobilised.
South Africa production increased by 130% to 1.3 million carats, due to planned treatment of higher grade ore from the final cut of the Venetia open pit, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown in Q2 2020, De Beers said. Production in Canada increased by 14% to 0.9 million carats versus a year ago.
Anglo American said, “Consumer demand for polished diamonds continued to recover, leading to strong demand for rough diamonds from midstream cutting and polishing centres, despite the impact on capacity from the severe Covid-19 wave in India during April and May. Rough diamond sales totalled 7.3 million carats from two Sights, reflecting the impact of the reduced Indian midstream capacity on Sight 4, compared with 0.3 million carats from two Sights in Q2 2020, and 13.5 million carats from three Sights in Q1 2021.
De Beers tightened its full-year production guidance to 32-33 million carats from 32-34 million carats announced previously.